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I used to go by "Heartmend" back in the day! Now I go by "ArrJaySketch" pretty much everywhere.
Thanks to friends who had been MLP collectors since the 80s, I heard about the show early on! I started watching the day after it premiered, and had a lot of fun watching weekly episodes.I didn't realize there was a fandom growing until March of 2011, and that's when I started posted here! I remember waiting for PensivePine / PensivePony to upload episodes to her channel (back when episodes aired on Fridays, before people started streaming!)
Back when streaming started to be a thing, it was ridiculous fun to watch Season 1 episodes as they aired, live! I loved all the discussions and all the silliness back then.
I remember starting a lot of the discussion & anticipation threads for the weekly episodes! I remember how this board used to be /ep/, and /oat/ used to be /pony/. People would take a massive amount of screencaps from each episode and post them in /pic/.I remember participating in the thread where the director at the time, Jayson Thiessen, posted in a thread early on!
I really do have Pony to thank to help me out in one of the darkest times in my life. I was already suffering from bad depression and burnout, and the show really did give me a sense of hope I hadn't felt in over a decade in 2010. Since then, I've taken back control of my life and feel much better about everything. It's not just the cartoon that made me feel so good, but the community, and the friends I've made along the way.